THE TEAM TODAY: Snow Day
Oilers arrive in Detroit later than expected due to a snowstorm; look ahead to Wings
SNOW DAYDETROIT, MI - The Oilers were supposed to fly from Columbus to Detroit last night but a snowstorm derailed those plans. Instead, the club got out of Columbus just after lunch and landed in Detroit mid-afternoon.
Upon landing, the team put the shootout loss to the Blue Jackets behind them and began focusing on tomorrow night's match-up against the always tough Red Wings.
"They're a great team, especially in this building," said Hall. "We're going to have to play a lot better than we did yesterday, we know that. It's been a bit of an inconsistent year for us so far. We've had good games and we've had bad games. We haven't been able to string together some good ones."
The Red Wings have had a home-heavy schedule so far with a record of 8-4-2 at the Joe Louis Arena. They've only played nine games on the road (3-4-2).
"We hope to start that tomorrow against a really good team. It's going to be a battle for us. If we can keep it close for the first two periods hopefully going into the third we can give ourselves a chance to win."
The Oilers opened this road trip with an overtime loss to Chicago and followed that up with a big 5-1 win in Dallas but have only picked up a single point in their last three outings. Hall added that the team has not only been inconsistent on the trip but even within games.
"We've had inconsistency as a whole in the season and we've had inconsistency in games. We can't string together shifts where we do the right things, get the pucks deep and play in their ends. It's just frustrating to see and I'm no different."
Hall remarked that it's time that the team's skill players stepped up and made a bigger difference in games.
"We know that we have the skill in our lineup to make a huge difference in this league and right now we're not playing with the grit and panache that we need to. We need to add that to our game and no better time than tomorrow."
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins agreed with his teammate.
"I think there's been spurts where we've been playing really good but it's tough to say we've put a full 60 together the past couple of games," said Nugent-Hopkins.
The sophomore centre added that in the grand scheme of things the Western Conference is still very tight and a couple of wins could easily vault the team back within spitting distance of the fourth-place Los Angeles Kings who sit only five points up.
"We're right there. We know that if we string a couple of wins together we'll be back in the hunt," he said. "Especially on a road trip like this in a shortened season, it's so important to make sure that we take pride in every game and starting tomorrow that would be a good challenge for us."
Tomorrow's game is a homecoming for a number of Oilers. Shawn Horcoff, Jeff Petry, Corey Potter and Mike Brown all played college hockey nearby.
Taylor Hall also played junior hockey just across the border in Windsor.
"It's always fun playing here -- not really on the ice since we don't seem to have a lot of success at Joe Louis -- but to be able to play in front of some Windsor fans is always nice," said Hall. "I usually have some family that comes here and some friends. It's always fun to play here and hopefully we can get a win."
Jeff Petry, who has five points in his last five games on this trip grew up in Detroit.
"It's always nice coming back here, getting to have dinner with my family because they can't make it out to Edmonton too often," said Petry. "It's nice to get back here."
-- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com with files from Bob Stauffer